Thursday, May 1, 2014

Pregnancy Revisited: Closed Uterus Edition

This might not be a post for the relatives. But they're gonna read anyway (and hopefully not comment), so here goes nothing.

We're done with growing our family. I've already mentioned this in previous posts, even when I was pregnant with Claire. It's just, I never imagined having three pregnancies, let alone three children. And I especially never could've dreamed (nightmared?) over the thought of having one of those children precede me in death.

My OB told me at my 6-month checkup not to do anything drastic if I wasn't sure we were done having children. By the end of our visit, she was handing me the card for the urologist.

I told her I was ready for the most drastic measure. Because even if something tragic were to happen to my living children, I'm not sure I could personally face another pregnancy again in my life. I can't replace the people they are anyway. There can be no accidents for me. I just spent the last three years fearing the loss of my children in utero and continue to fear loss. Granted, I'm thankful for the conception part being easy for me when I needed it-- we all have our battles and mine was the pregnancy itself. For me, pregnancy stress was slowly taking the life out of me.

We've contemplated this being a job for the husband... since really... haven't I been through enough? Similar to my beautiful friends who have fought infertility, I just feel like this part of our lives (the whole conceiving and birthing children part) was already so invasive. I seriously clocked a ton of hours in doctor waiting rooms, in chairs, triage rooms, the OR, sterile surgical environments... you name it. I was ready for him to have a turn.

But then there's this whole financial side of it all that has me being a disgruntled cheapskate. The lovely Affordable Care Act states that all contraceptives for women are covered. For men? Not at all. Well, unless the deductible and all that jazz, but that's irrelevant right now. Doesn't that bother any other women out there who have birthed babies at all? We have the finances to do whatever we want, but I like to weigh the pros and cons for all options... and the list does include finances. Of course it's our decision on how to handle things, but I feel like the ball is slowly rolling back into my court. Again.

I likely won't be making any drastic decisions for a long time (because honestly, my anxiety level of going back into the doctor's office for anything is through the roof), but really. I feel like delivering three children (one of which never saw daylight), having a D&C, enduring three long and painful pregnancies and having my abdomen cut open unexpectedly and nearly suffering the loss of another baby should have earned me a free pass to no more invasive procedures.

In other news, I said goodbye to all of my maternity wear in a local resale this past week. It felt cathartic to pass them on.

Lest you get the impression that I am ungrateful... I'm not. I cherish my children and would've birthed them all just how it happened in a heartbeat all over again. Of course, I don't wish our history, or the loss of Andrew, were so muddled with grief and fear. Really, I just wish this all worked "naturally" like I expected in my naive, newly-married world. Now I'm 31, sprouting hoards of gray hair and have probably shaved off years of my life to anxiety. I'm spent.


LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

You have every right be done. Done done done. Even though we are planning (in the future) to have another child, I am happily anticipating 'closing up shop.' I am even bitter that we have to endure routine annual visits after the ridiculous amount of gynocological procedures we've been through. Definitely unfair.

Personally, due to my last cesarean I will have to have a repeat c-section and I'm considering getting my tubes tied while I'm already 'open' (UGH.)

The fears of "what if something happens to my kid(s)" weigh heavily on my mind as well. You are right about never being able to replace them anyway, if God forbid, anything were to happen. When you have been dealt lots of bad luck, I think you brain automatically fears the worst, even in happy times.

But yeah... Make hubby get the big V!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

We had our first pregnancy end in miscarriage in Feb/Mar. This month we have the go-ahead to try again and while I'm excited to be pregnant again (like you, conception wasn't an issue at all), I'm already feeling nervous and know that the anxiety over loss won't even begin to simmer down until we are at home with baby in our arms. People talk about the "safe zone" after 12 weeks but in my mind there IS no safe zone.

Excuse the rambling; I can understand your exhaustion mama.

Kari at A Grace Full Life said... [Reply to comment]

I understand this completely.
I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't.
I still have one pair of maternity pants left from seven years ago.
I use them on Thanksgiving.
Just a helpful tip.

SuzyQpon said... [Reply to comment]

I know that finances are always a concern (for most of us anyhow) but if you can have the hubby get a vasectomy for a reasonable cost, I would go for it. It's major surgery for you and you have 2 little ones to take care of. The worry/expense/difficulties with caring for them post operation should offset some of the expense. The deal I had with my husband was I would sign the paperwork up front to have my tubes tied if they were already in doing a C-section. Otherwise, it was on him. Like you, I'd been through enough with 2 pregnancies/babies - 1 live birth and 1 preterm birth that ended in loss. He went when our son was 6 weeks old. He was perfectly fine in 2 days.

Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

No judgement here! Children are not replaceable. Not every person able to have pregnancy after pregnancy without huge ramifications.

I hope for your sake that it is not you that has to "take on for the team."

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

I love Kari's tip. I probably won't get rid of my maternity yoga pants for the same reason!

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

I think that since I have NO CONTROL whatsoever in this whole bringing home a live baby thing I will be the one to exert ALL CONTROL when we decide we're done. J has offered to get the surgery done when time comes, but I'm pretty sure I'll insist it be me. Trying to be strong and martyr like. Or probably more realistically my way of punishing inanimate objects that reside within my body. Take that uterus! Now who's in charge?!

Fodder for my mental breakdown I'm sure.

Flmgodog said... [Reply to comment]

I hate that this conversation even has to exist. Since I had so many pregnancies and losses I knew that I had to be done...for my own piece of mind.
My husband was ready to get a vasectomy but I insisted that if I had a c-section I wanted my tubes tied, saylor knotted if need be. I was so very afraid that something was going to happen and then the boys would not make it and where would I be then. I knew it all had to be over though and I needed it to be my last pregnancy. I birthed twin A and then twin B was by emergency c-section. I knew (as terrible as it sounds) even though I was hysterical that this was the end. My Perinatologist knew too and I kept saying over and over, make sure this baby is alive and please make CERTAIN this is my last pregnancy. Very scary for me.
All this to say I think you just know when it's the end and you can't do it anymore.
Wishing you guidance in whatever you choose.
PS - it is sort of freeing once it is all said and done, the maternity clothes are gone, the doppler is given away, the baby clothes have moved on, etc. Sad but freeing.

Jenny said... [Reply to comment]

Your post has had me thinking hard! I sympathize with where you're at, and understand why someone would want a choice like this for the wife or husband.

From Genesis 1-2, to Jeremiah 29, and 1 John, Christians are called to give life. We give life because the God who created us gives life. We are called to choose life in all situations, for the flourishing of all people.

This is a gentle question: if your uterus is closed, where will you both give life?

My gentle challenge is to make the choice "financially" equal, or even a challenge.

If a Vasectomy costs more, then donate the difference in cost to an organization that gives undervalued kids life.

Sponsor a child in some way, from a population that is overlooked or undervalued (orphan, foster, special needs, medical needs, international, etc).

Give more life and flourishing through the financial gifts God has given you, even if you feel it would cost too much emotionally to keep giving life through your body.

I hope that this came through as gentle and sympathetic, supportive and challenging. You're in my prayers.

second floor dweller said... [Reply to comment]

The thought of surgery always makes me wary - for either one of you, but especially for you.

Have you considered a long term (but not permanent) decision, like an IUD? So much less invasive, and very effective.